I’ve got to be honest with you … I don’t know much about early church history. Outside of the start of the church through the Apostles, I haven’t studied or read much about our founding church fathers and their influence on church history. As I keep learning more about the Church through reading and traveling, I have found that the more knowledge I have about the Christian Church the greater dimension that knowledge brings to my faith. So I was intrigued by this new biography series, Early Church Fathers by Christian Focus Publishing and one of the first releases in the series Basil of Caesarea.
Basil was a Bishop in the Fourth Century Church. He lived in what is now modern day Turkey. He was instrumental in the penning of the Nicene Creed and opposing a faction who were diminishing the deity of Christ. Basil also fought for the underprivileged. This is just the short list of his life; he was a very active and influential voice in the 4th Century Church.
I found that I really enjoyed this book and the life of this early church father. I was surprised that the more things change with the centuries, the more they stay the same. The author, Dr. Marvin Jones, writes an informative biography that gives the background of the life and teachings of Basil and his tie to the modern church as well. I think that many readers will enjoy this book, too. One area to note is that the book covered more than his life, it also had a fair amount of theology as well, including Basil’s influence on the doctrine of the Holy Spirit and Hexaemeron (Basils’s 9 homilies written on the creation of the world in six days). These topics are handled in a more academic manner that might leave the general reader behind. However, Jones offers his reader dialogue boxes throughout the chapter that give definitions and summaries of important terms, people, and events. This will aid most readers who may stumble, if he or she is not as theologically-minded or scholarly in their reading.
Ultimately, Jones has penned a readable biography of this early church father, Basil of Caesarea. This series gives a brief overview of each man in early church history (the full list of men are listed below), many who are likely not as familiar to the general Christian reader. Although some readers may stumble through aspects of the theology in this book, Basil’s impact on these areas cannot be overlooked when learning about his incredible life and influence. Many of the author’s notes and references were directly from Basil’s own writings. I give this book four out of five stars.
Basil of Caesarea (329-379 AD) was a Greek Bishop in what is now Turkey. A thoughtful theologian, he was instrumental in the formation of the Nicene Creed. He fought a growing heresy, Arianism, that had found converts, including those in high positions of state. In the face of such a threat he showed courage, wisdom and complete confidence in God that we would do well to emulate today.
- Series: Biography
- Paperback: 176 pages
- Publisher: Christian Focus (March 20, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1781913021
- ISBN-13: 978-1781913024
- Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 5.4 x 0.6 inches
- Retail Price: $11.99
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About Early Church Fathers: this series relates the magnificent impact that these fathers of the early church made for our world today. They encountered challenges similar to ones that we face in our postmodern world, and they met them with extraordinary values that will encourage and inspire us today.
Other Titles Planned in the Series:
Irenaeus of Lyons (d. c.202)
Hilary of Poitiers (c.315-367/8)
Basil of Caesarea (c.330-379)
John Chrysostom (c.347-407)
Patrick (c.390-c.461) Now Available!
Cyril of Alexandria (c.376)
About the Author
Dr. Marvin Jones is the Assistant Professor of Church History and Theology, Louisiana College, Pineville, Louisiana, and the Chairman of the Christian Studies Department.